Proper views on hell

what do you guys think.

on the one hand, we shouldn’t pretend that hell doesn’t exist. on the other, is it really necessary to focus excessively on it? we have nothing to fear if we abide in Christ

We shouldn’t focus excessively on it, and I don’t know any Catholics who do, but it is very important.

It is important to warn people of the danger and horror of hell because we do not want souls to go there. Try to run an anti-smoking campaign without talking about the risks for cancer, cardiovascular problems, and other bad things and see how effective it is. Try to run an anti drunk driving campaign without clearly explaining why it’s a bad idea. Yes, we must talk about how good it is to follow Jesus and be in His Church, but we must also emphasize that goodness by making clear the reality of hell and the fact that souls do go there. Jesus himself made this clear.

It is true that we have nothing to fear if we abide in Christ, but who is Christ? Many people nowadays don’t have an understanding of who He is that is consistent with the Tradition of the Church or the Bible. They seem to think that Jesus just said to be good to one another, to not judge, and to share our money and possessions with people who don’t have as much as we do. People seem to forget- and many have never been effectively taught- that He is King.

How many “(s)he’s in heaven now” Facebook posts (if you use Facebook) have you seen on friends’ pages when they announce that a loved one has passed away? How presumptuous is that?! You never know what someone is doing in private. It is crucial to have a proper view of hell because we don’t want souls (most especially our own) to end up there. Presumptuous of God’s mercy is extremely dangerous. We would do well to remember that Jesus Himself spoke more about hell than about heaven.

Imagine you are in a zoo and a lion has escaped. You see someone dressed in uniform who is clearly trustworthy and able to guide you to safety. What is more important for the visitors to ask him? Should they ask about the brand new exhibit that has not yet opened for them, or should they ask for protection from the lion’s mouth? Obviously they need protection, but suppose there are some visitors who somehow don’t know they need protection- maybe they don’t know the danger is out there, maybe it sounds too crazy to be believable. What about them? They’ve obviously got to be told clearly that they are in serious danger. This scenario is a concern for the body- which will be resurrected. How do you think concern for the soul, which will remain for eternity in the state in which it was when the person died, should compare to this?

Hell is a choice, God gave us free will, hoping for the best and preparing for the worst, we make the choice, not God. God does not send us to Hell, we do that. God show us what is right, and if we do as we are “told” we don’t have a need to worry about Hell. It is really not complicated, I am pretty sure there are a number of people, Saint’s, Pope’s and lay-persons who have written a “million” books about this issue, but the short, and correct, answer is that we really make the choice, and if there would not be a Hell, what would this world look like? Everything we do is okay? No, there must be a Hell and Heaven, if not, we would live in pure anarchy and mayhem, and there would be no need for Heaven.

I think you answered your own question. No need for us to chime in.

Fear of punishment is a natural motivator for amending one’s behavior. Not all people are always moved towards amending their sinful behavior because they feel drawn by God’s love. Indeed, for some, the fear of hell is a powerful motivator to get one’s life on track. We should therefore preach both God’s love and the punishment of hell, as Jesus did.

The only sermon on hell I have ever heard from a Catholic priest was in an SSPX chapel (these are traditionalist Catholics with an “irregular status” with regard to the Church, so hardly mainstream or typical). It was, as a matter of fact, a darned good one, and if the many sermons on hell I’d heard growing up in conservative Protestant circles had been anything like it I would have been delighted.

Hell is the consequence of finally rejecting God. As the SSPX priest said in the sermon I referred to above, the pain of hell results from the inner conflict between the damned person’s nature, which is oriented toward God, and the will, which has set itself against God. We need to think and talk about hell in the context of thinking and talking about the consequences of our choices: do we follow up on whatever desires we have for goodness, truth, and beauty? Do we open ourselves to God’s grace, which surrounds us at every moment but will never compel us? Or do we shut ourselves off in the prison of our own disordered choices?

It isn’t so much a question of “how much” we talk about hell, but how. Done in the right way, once in a lifetime would be enough and once a day wouldn’t be too often.


Even the meaning of “abide” can get turned on its head by some and maybe even many. We shouldn’t overlook that Jesus spoke the most on hell.

Meet me :o

I find myself thinking about worrying about hell alot. I try not to think about it, but I cant help it, to make it worse, I have dreams here and there and they are very bad, and they wake me up, and sometimes scare me so much I have a hard time going back to sleep.

On the other hand, I have some problems in the general idea of hell though, I have a hard time believing Satan and the other fallen angels will be in the same place as humans, I thought angels and humans were 2 entirely different types of beings anyway, so hell would not be the same thing for both…??

One other thing, which is mentioned quite a bit on here, is Hell is more or less just a separation from God, but humans who reject God while alive are already living in a state without God, as they refuse to let him into their lives, so hell would basically be an extension of their earthly lives.

Finally the torture in hell…I know the bible says there will be gnashing of teeth, screaming, etc, but humans who die will be in spirit form, thus will not have their physical bodies, and who would be inflicting this torture…if the bible is correct, satan and the demons will be in as much suffering as everyone else, so…?

Plus., something I almost forgot about, we all know satan and his demons have the ability to come and go from hell, so if this is happening, why cant all the humans there do the same thing? why would satan/ demons be given ‘fringe benefits’ and not human souls?

We really don’t have any basis for clear ideas about the afterlife, except that it will be radically different from what we know now. So talking about “place” or “physical torment” is probably more confusing than helpful. Certainly all those who reject God finally will be, so to speak, in the same moral and spiritual place. And Scripture speaks of the resurrection of the body, so there will be something corresponding to bodily existence eventually.

One other thing, which is mentioned quite a bit on here, is Hell is more or less just a separation from God, but humans who reject God while alive are already living in a state without God, as they refuse to let him into their lives, so hell would basically be an extension of their earthly lives.

This language can be confusing. To be totally separated from God would be to cease to exist. Some people argue for this, but it’s not the traditional, orthodox view. However, C. S. Lewis has suggested that perhaps there is a sense in which the person ceases to exist even if some kind of consciousness continues. The bottom line is that the will is totally set against God, while at the same time there is no longer any room for self-deception. People in this life can distract themselves from the fundamental misery of their separation from God. After death that won’t be possible.

My own view is that hell is both the presence and the absence of God. That is to say, after death (and even more after the resurrection of the body, whatever that means) we will no longer have the “veil” of this present life between us and the all-embracing presence of God. If you have become someone who is morally and spiritually absent from God–that is, your will is set against union with God–then that all-embracing presence will be torment. And whatever contact you have with other damned beings (human or non-human) will, of course, increase the torment.

Beyond that I don’t think we can go. And I think that’s enough–enough on the one hand to give us a healthy fear of the consequences of choosing against love in this life, and on the other hand to make it clear that the punishment of hell isn’t arbitrary or cruel. The only thing we have to fear is that we will become people incapable of enjoying the presence of God.


If one were to wake up in hell, so to speak, one would come to the realization that not only did they put themself there but that they built it themself.

If one were to believe that Jesus took upon Himself All of the sins of humanity than how could one not believe that Jesus Himself went not only to hell but to everyone’s custom-built hell?

If He “paid the price”, “paid the ransom” than how did He pay it?

Some people seem to think that it was only the “physical” going on at the cross, not so, Jesus wasn’t saying some of the things written in some of the psalms just to say a psalm but what He was saying was coming true just as He was saying them.

One day All will know that Jesus did what many, if not most, think God incapable of doing.

Many call Jesus the Saviour of the world, but how many really believe this simple statement?

St. Paul commanded “Work out your salvation in FEAR and TREMBLING”.

Everyone should know that their choices FOR or AGAINST Christ will result in the eternal bliss of Heaven or the eternal PUNISHMENT of Hell!

The proper response from all of us is “Lord have mercy on me a sinner” and “Jesus I trust in you”.

We are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling yet at the same time remember Jesus saying “I go to prepare a PLACE for you…In My Father’s house are many MANSIONS–if it weren’t so I would have told you” and “Anyone that does not pick up their CROSS and follow me is not worthy of me” and “My yoke is easy and my burden is lite.”

None of these things contradict–they are all true!

God is love and is a God of perfect Justice and Perfect Mercy.

Jesus said “I came so that they would have LIFE ABUNDANTLY” and to the good thief “TODAY you will be with me in paradise” but also “If you are neither hot nor cold I will SPEW you out of my mouth”.

The scriptures state “FEAR of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”.

The truth is that there is such a thing as a GOOD FEAR of God and a Bad Fear of God.

Tremble with Fear while you also trust Jesus like a little child.

The truth is sometimes a paradox.

Sometimes hard to understand–but God doesn’t require that we always understand everything about Him He requires that we have faith in Him.

The best way to get to Heaven is trhrough the Catholic Church.

If you aren’t Catholic give it a try–if you are Catholic continue giving it a try!

just curious, does “raised” Catholic, mean no longer Catholic or does it mean raised Catholic and still Catholic?

One could ask, If hell wasn’t terrible for us too, why would we need saving from it? Matthew 25:41
[FONT=Calibri]btw, [/FONT]Revelation 12:9[FONT=Calibri] Satan and the devil are used interchangably[/FONT]

When Jesus told the story about the rich man and lazarus, the rich man was clearly in agony. How can this be, without a body? Yet in the afterlife, comfort and agony are shown to exist. Otherwise how could we enjoy heaven? Jesus the one who judges the living and the dead, is telling us the story about the life after this one is over. And He can’t lie.

Luke 16:19-31 . Notice, when each died, their bodies went to the grave and their souls went to their respective places. Which means they were judged after death. And Jesus is telling the story. Does it look like the rich man is really in torment? What is also clear, their is no possibility for reversal either of the rich man or lazarus. In the case of the rich man, he knows he’s there for eternity. It’s hard to even wrap our heads around eternity.

Several realitities are in place
*]Satan and his demons were sent to earth Revelation 12:9. Hell as we’re refering to that existence as mentioned in scripture, is prepared for them and those humans who will join them. Matthew 25:41 .
*]As for the devil and his demons they have their role to play.Luke 22:31. Jesus did not come to save Satan and the demons. He came to save us from them. But they don’t have unlimited power Jude 1:9. Nor does God force us to be saved, otherwise there is no need for grace or directions to be holy, or obey Our Lord and what He commands, or avoid sin, particularly mortal sin. Because if we die in mortal sin, we won’t inherit heaven….i.e. the soul goes to hell. For example [1 Corinthians 6:8-10](“ Corinthians+6:8-10&version=RSVCE”) & Revelation 21:8 etc

Well said. :thumbsup:

There are three errors we can make in preaching about hell:

  1. To overdo it (cf. Jonathan Edwards and his loathsome comment about Hell being paved with “the skulls of unbaptised infants”)
  2. To downplay it and make it sound like a cosmic time-out room (which is unfortunately common in our day and age)
  3. To focus excessively on the “pain of the senses” aspect and omit the fact that Hell is eternal separation from God - it is an unrequited love that lasts forever.

People in Hell do not experience unrequited love–they HATE God!

It is agony to be forever separated from God but they hate God so much they WANT it that way!

And the pain of the senses IS excruciating, torturous, and eternal!

Hell is really really BAD!

It’s so bad that’s why you get the lame view that it is only separation from God–or the lame view that it doesn’t last forever–hence anihilationism–or the view that there isn’t great pain of senses or that at the last day that the bodies of the damned aren’t reunited with their souls–they are!

Hell isn’t only SPIRITUAL torment!

The devil wants people to believe in all of these LESSENING heretical theories of Hell so that there will be a greater chance of the person falling into mortal sin and winding up there in HJell because they didn’t think that Hell was that bad!

It is a trillion to the trillionth power bad while heaven is a trillion to the trillionth power good–actually the values are INFINITE.

God’s JUSTICE is perfect and REQUIRES Hell to be that BAD because of the infinite SACRIFICE that Jesus made on the Cross–to choose against SUCH PERFECT LOVE as that demands Hell to be as bad as possible.

And all of what I said in no way means that God isn’t perfectly loving and merciful and that if we follow Him we can have life abundantly here on Earth and live forever with god in Heaven!

So that’s the proper view of Heaven–one can know how BAD Hell is and work out their salvation with fear and trembling and also glory in Jesus’ yoke which is light!

If MORE of the world knew how bad Hell was there would be more people trying to stay out of Hell!

There’s no need to shout! :slight_smile:

Anyway, here’s the Catechism on hell. You can’t get more “proper” than this:

1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: “He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren. To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called “hell.”

1034 Jesus often speaks of “Gehenna” of “the unquenchable fire” reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost. Jesus solemnly proclaims that he “will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,” and that he will pronounce the condemnation: “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!”

1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, “eternal fire.” The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

1036 The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where “men will weep and gnash their teeth.”

1037 God predestines no one to go to hell; for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want “any to perish, but all to come to repentance”

Father, accept this offering
from your whole family.
Grant us your peace in this life,
save us from final damnation,
and count us among those you have chosen.

Jerry-Jet, the problem with the view you’re describing is that the “love and mercy” of God according to this view seems extremely manipulative and twisted to many folks. “I love you and if you don’t respond the way I want you to I will torture you forever.” Yes, of course God’s relationship to us isn’t the same as that of one human to another, so the fact that a human being would have to be very evil to treat another human being like that is not conclusive proof that this view of God is wrong (arguably this is just because one human being doesn’t have the right to act that way). But as long as you put it in retributive terms (God “makes hell as bad as possible” as an act of “justice” against those who have rejected his love) I think you have problems. Viewed purely retributively, I don’t think there’s any way to justify eternal punishment over against annihilationism.

That’s why I think a better way of talking about hell is to talk about it as the inevitable consequence of rejecting God’s love. In a sense we wind up in the same place–I would argue that this is retributive and an expression of God’s justice. But it’s not that God chooses to “make hell bad” in order to inflict suffering on people–rather, God’s justice is reflected in the reality that if you choose against love you will make yourself (and anyone you come in contact with) utterly miserable.


He certainly didn’t say that. No Reformed theologian has ever believed in the damnation of infants just because they were unbaptized. The position of Calvin and other early Reformed theologians was that we can be confident that the children of believers (whether the children are baptized or not) will go to heaven if they die in infancy. The early Reformed generally refused to answer the question of what happened to other infants, since they didn’t think Scripture answers it. The early American Puritan poem “The Day of Doom” by Michael Wigglesworth portrays the damnation of infants, and I used to think that this meant all infants would be damned, but it doesn’t actually say that. Edwards’ alleged quote was “hell is paved with the skulls of infants a span long” or “not a span long,” but I have never actually seen an authenticated source for it, and it appears to be an “urban legend.”

Sorry to interrupt your excellent post with this, but accuracy is important and this is one of those quotes that takes on a life of its own independently of any evidence, so it’s my duty to do my bit to challenge it!

  1. To downplay it and make it sound like a cosmic time-out room (which is unfortunately common in our day and age)
  2. To focus excessively on the “pain of the senses” aspect and omit the fact that Hell is eternal separation from God - it is an unrequited love that lasts forever.

I would disagree with this and agree with Jerry-Jet here. I would say rather that “it’s a state of hatred of God and other people that lasts forever.” This is in one sense a more horrible picture of hell (given the choice, I’d rather have unrequited love for God forever than have hatred of God forever), but a much less horrible picture of God. It is not only morally repugnant but alien to Scripture and Tradition to argue that the damned love God (it’s morally repugnant because it says that God eternally rejects people who love Him).


I was brought up in a catholic family, and I was forced to attend catholic grade and middle school, but I wanted to go to public school, where all my friends were. I never felt anything when going to church, after praying, etc, so I did not understand it, as my parents and siblings seemed to enjoy mass and the catholic faith in general.

Now, as a middle aged man, I do believe God is our creator and that Jesus died for our sins, but I do not attend mass regularly, Everytime Ive tried or sincerely prayed to God asking for help, asking him to come into my life, I get absolutely nothing, no feelings, no answers, nothing. Ive done this many times over the years and continue to get no reply, so this has made me start to wonder and ask alot of questions, however I have never been an atheist, I DO believe God exists and he is our creator. Dont get me wrong, Im not content living like this, I truly desire the happiness I see other christians enjoying, and to have God in my heart, but after years and years of trying and getting no answers, it breaks a person down after so long.

Regarding the demons, Yes, I realize they are only allowed to go so far and God ultimately controls what power they have, but on the other hand, I question why they have ANY power, especially considering the grave nature of the sin Satan and his fallen angels committed against God, I wouldve thought God would turn them to dust instantly having done what they did, ( satan did not just sin, he wanted to BE GOD, and wanted to be worshiped!!!), not just kick them out of heaven, yet still allowed them a good majority of their powers, and when talking about Satan in particular, in his case, it seems he has MORE power than most angels in heaven, as I have never heard of heavenly angels being able to influence mankind to the degree he is able to.

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